29 CommentsFuture Diary / By Scamp /

Future Diary episode 5

Since I spent the opening of the last Guilty Crown post complaining about the OP being a whole load of tuneless noise and yelling, I should probably also mention how I quite like the Future Diary opening. Again there’s a whole load of noise, but it has a beat, while the vocals are loud enough that they don’t get drowned out by the background instruments. The imagery is neat too. Much like a zebra that has just met the business end of a submachine gun; it’s black and white and red all over. The whole crazy effect keeps in tune with the tone of the show too. Still prefer the Persona 4 OP and the Un-Go ED though. Oh look at me, pretending I know anything about music~

This episode of Future Diary has every nerds favourite plot element: Tragic Rape Backstory! That is, every nerds favourite subject to get pissy about the representation of. Parents brutally murdered in front of their eyes as a child? Meh, pretty regular backstory. Get raped when you’re younger? Oh dear, touchy territory. In all seriousness, rape does tend to be thrown in as a lazy method to create tragic backstories with minimal thought put into why it happens. Seeing Future Diary going that method was a bit worrying, especially since it’s not exactly the type of show that treats touchy subject matter with much delicacy. Mind you, if Black Lagoon, a story so pulpy that if it were orange juice it would be practically a solid, can do a story about what happens to the victims of child molestation with the level of brilliance it did, then we shouldn’t be holding Future Diary up to any lower level of scrutiny.

One of the reasons I loved the Hansel and Gretel arc of Black Lagoon was the idea of Sympathy for the Monster. These kids had their minds broken by what they had experienced and now this was the only way they could view the world. You can feel sympathy for how they reached that stage, but as they are now, they are monsters. Rock tries to get through to the kids, only to have his sympathy responded to in the only way the kids understand. It’s both a powerful and fucking creepy scene. Future Diary has something similar to this. Fifth is a broken person, her only wish now to rewrite the world to remove what she doesn’t like. But, right at the end, she gets a glimpse of the life she had forgotten with the little ball thrown by Yuuki. It’s a little bit convenient that Yuuki was able to find that very ball, but the scene shone that little light of humanity on her that had been erased through years of abuse.

Where Future Diary is perhaps a bit less impressive is how Fifth has grown up as a result from these years of abuse. Sorry to keep going back to Black Lagoon for those of you who haven’t watched it, but Hansel and Gretel’s new personalities make perfect sense in the context of what they had experienced. They had to teach themselves to enjoy killing, or else they wouldn’t have been able to go on. That’s the only way they know how to look at the world. Not so keen on Future Diary’s idea that Fifth now mocks people for their virginity and has sloppy erotic kisses to prove her point. The cult saw her as a tool, not something to be flirted with. It’s not like she was forced into prostitution and had to become slutty for the sake of keeping her sanity.

Back to rape again though, I understand where the nerd anger force comes from with that. The depiction of rape is often seen as something almost desirable, or that a female character deserves it because of how she dresses or how she acts. It’s good that that mindset is being attacked. But, like any counter movement, the reaction has shot too far in the opposite direction, to the point that the sheer mention of the subject gets everyone’s hackles raised. I’ve seen it introduced in incredibly lazy and slapdash fashion, such as Fractale, but I can’t think of any incredibly offensive portrayals I’ve seen of it off the top of my head. But that’s probably because I don’t read shoujo or yaoi, where the ‘rape = love’ thing is more prevalent. Actually wait, I take it back. I have seen one. Honey X Honey Drops. A goddawful shoujo OVA that is a prime target for a terribad video if I ever got around to making them again.

Just to finish off, the post-credit scene with Sixth was the highlight of the whole episode. Speaking of Sympathy for the Monster, I loved how they characterised him as someone who just wanted to help society in the only way he knew how. Once you get this revelation, his part in the story suddenly becomes a lot more tragic. He was genuinely only trying to help people; albeit in a not particularly moral way (turning people into zombies strikes me as being rather low down on the moral ladder). Plus it was all done via crudely made puppets, Asread showing the real extent of their budget limitations. It’s becoming a running trend in Future Diary. No matter how psychotic, each of these characters has something that makes them sympathetic.

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29 Comments

  1. Redcrimson
    Posted November 7, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Wasn’t Tsubaki Sixth and Hero-of-Justice-Guy Twelfth?

    Anyways about the post-credit omake, I took the derpy stop motion to be a representation of how Twelfth “sees” the world, being blind and all. At least that’s how I want to interpret it, otherwise WTF was that about Asread?

    • Scamp
      Posted November 8, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Derpy? More like totally awesome stop motion :D

  2. Posted November 7, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Scamp has his Future Diarists mixed up. He calls Twelfth “Sixth” and Sixth “Fourth.”

    I loved how this episode resolved the plot lines from Episode 4 in a satisfactory way, and the fact that Yukiteru finally grew a pair.

  3. fathomlessblue
    Posted November 7, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I completely agree. I think that type of story worked in Black Lagoon for both Hansel/Gretel and Revy is because it had a fairly cynical attitude, basically of shit happens, sucks to be you. It never harped on about the act, merely the affect-effects. You felt sorry for what the characters went through, but not who they are by the time they appear in the show. Or if you do then it’s in a very murky, confused sense. This episode just resorted to the usual dramatic flashback to force you to feel sorry for fifth, even as she does horrible things. The emancipated near-skeleton scene was just so overkill. Frankly, Elfin Lied destroyed whatever was left of my pity by milking this trope for all it was worth. Still, this totally the type of show I’d expect a least one tragic rape story from, so I just did my best to shrug it off.

    The recent episode of Un-Go, however; now that was unsettling!

    Also agree the studio is doing wonders with the extra omake-style scenes. I completely expected the inclusion of Muru Muru to be the Nessa of this series, ruining the mood and enjoyment at every turn, but the way they have kept her mostly clear of the main story and into scenes that actually work in her favour, is fantastic scriptwriting. Bravo!

    • Scamp
      Posted November 8, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t think it was awfully handled. Elfen Lied is kinda a good comparison. It was a bit over the top, but it worked in the context of the story in both cases. Then again, it’s been a while since I’ve seen Elfen Lied, so eh

      Fuck me was Un-Go episode 4 ever amazing

      • Okamu
        Posted November 10, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        So I take it that Un-Go is getting really good then?

  4. romulus
    Posted November 7, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    Yandere vs. yandere was one of the nicest things that happened to me today. About Tsubaki: that kiss and mocking was something which was not in the manga, and it really messed up Sixth’s image. It’s great that you spotted this, she is not slutty (or at least she wasn’t meant to be originally).

    Rape as reason to do weird things is actually really commonplace, mainly because it’s shocking no matter how many times we see that kind of thing. Fractale and Black Lagoon are more or less the two ends of the anime scale but only Black Lagoon employed it well. Lets skip ranting examples and get down to the conclusion: handling the subject (rape) carefully enough to be shocking AND explanatory but not overdoing it is like a sign that the anime is not meant to disappear. It requires clever writing and directing or maybe just some skilled artists.
    Everyone should decide for themselves how good the portrayal of rape was this time, it will probably coincide with the score the anime overall deserves.

    About ter­ribad video reviews: please don’t give up on them, it would be a shame to let end it this way. Did you keep your inspiration on that hard drive too? Bad anime will suck anyway, why not make fun of it then? I heard you hate shoujo so lets have some good ol’ Scampy-style shoujo-bashing with their clichés and everything.

    • lostsage
      Posted November 8, 2011 at 12:07 am | Permalink

      woahwoah, the kiss is 100% in the manga. I’ll even link it for you:
      http://www.batoto.com/read/_/9252/mirai-nikki_ch8_by_lucifer/45

      • lostsage
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 12:12 am | Permalink

        But you are right about the rape not turning her into a a sex-crazed lunatic; It is a calculated move (but what her calculations add up to is a mystery).

      • Nightfall
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        Yandere + (Obect of affection + Defiling action) = Yandere Rage

        What she forgot was: Above calculation + Axe wielding = Death

  5. Posted November 7, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Haven’t seen the episode yet, it’s still downloading, but… holy shit I agree with you about Honey X Honey Drops. Most godawful shojo OVA I have ever watched. In the manga, which I checked out of curiosity… it seems to be played a lot more like ‘I love you so much I won’t take no for an answer’. Eurgh.

  6. Posted November 7, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    Does this mean that I should watch Black Lagoon?

    • blackice85
      Posted November 8, 2011 at 1:46 am | Permalink

      I would, one of my favorites personally. I hope they do another series or more OVAs.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 8, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Yes. The second season is in my top 30

  7. lostsage
    Posted November 8, 2011 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    “that Fifth now mocks people for their vir­gin­ity and has sloppy erotic kisses to prove her point”

    I don’t think that’s what she was trying to do. She knew how traumatic rape is and played that card to draw Yukiteru out. And she somehow thought kissing Yukiteru would change her Dead End flag, though how throwing a psychopath into a psychotic rage would prove to be beneficial is beyond me. Maybe something completely unexpected would change it?

  8. Someone Else
    Posted November 8, 2011 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    On another note, this episode got more boob shot than I thought this anime would have. Also Yukiteru was pretty stupid not to realize that his diary was the most powerful because it tells every information in amazing detail while Yuno’s diary can be used for his self defense. Anyways back to subject, Twelfth (Masked guy)’s revelation at the end was more notable for me than sixth’s rape backstory, even though half the episode was explaining her history lol

  9. Kiseki
    Posted November 8, 2011 at 1:37 am | Permalink

    Would almost getting raped count as a…oh crap you said offensive, not whatever the other word I was thinking of… (Well, it was done well.)

    You should read something from serialized in Sho Comi then. Mostly crap and shit like rape galore! Oh wait. That OVA was an adaption of something from Sho Comi. Alright then.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 8, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      I’ll keep the name of Sho Comi in my potential Terribad pile, cheers for that :D

  10. Posted November 8, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    I guess, from my point of view, rape is something that stirs powerful emotions because it’s more difficult to stylize than, say, violence. Directors, cinematographers, animators, etc. can pull any number of cute tricks, but for the most part, you’re seeing something that looks and feels more real than fictional violence.

    I’ve never watched a rape scene that didn’t make me feel absolutely horrible afterward. It’s not a great thing, and creators are of course well aware of that. As you write, it’s something that is easily abused to rile up deep emotions in people, but it’s not always earned. Your example of Black Lagoon’s Hansel and Gretel storyline is a good one for how rape is employed with thought and care for the victims and their development. On the other side, I’m sure that throughout your viewings of ’80s and early ’90s OVAs, you saw numerous examples of rape being used in lazy ways to make the world seem more grim and gritty and to make the villains seem more evil.

    That latter use is what gets me most. When rape is used in lazy ways, it seems like it’s always the cherry on top of an Evil Sundae: Our villain’s killed a bus full of children, he crucified an old lady and oh by the way here’s a virgin he can rape!

    As for how Future Diary uses it . . . eh, it’s OK, but since it’s all crammed into one episode, it feels so rushed and a bit too far into the lazy spectrum for me. Come to think of it, though, with so many diary users being killed off so quickly, I wonder if the show can even make it through 26 episodes at this pace?

    • Scamp
      Posted November 9, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      The only 90′s OVA’s I can think of that included rape are those Go Nagai ones. They tend to be of the “hur hur boobies” type of rape, this being Go Nagai after all

  11. Posted November 9, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    I agree with you on how rape is being used as a cheap route to get some sympathy, but for me the real problem was with the characters. To be more specific, the age of the characters.

    You have a stalker who’s axe-happy, a boy who really has no clue what he’s doing, a girl with her eye pierced while open and then fondled with, tons of school kids massacred and a room full of corpses. Doesn’t all this sound too much for kids? It really takes away the whole maturity of the show. I was fine with Higurashi going with the whole contrast of cute lolis suddenly pulling out the knives, but for a show like Mirrai Nikki, which has been dreary and dealing with adult themes, seeing kids in the mainframe is not really fitting…at least for me. This was one among many problems in Deadman Wonderland as well.

    Why not just put adults in their place? That would up the ante. It lacks that extra “thrill” because when I space out for a second and refocus, I see kids spattering blood all over the place and that…just doesn’t work. A mature anime (in terms of themes) needs a mature protagonist.

    On the bright side, I don’t mind Yukii, he’s one of the better wimpy leads out there.

    • mcm38
      Posted November 9, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

      It’s Seinen with Shounen characters? Or Shounen with Seinen theme?

    • Scamp
      Posted November 9, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      Well, one of the reasons I could highlight for the main character having to be a teenager is because an important element of his character is that he is not in control over his own life. Before he got the Future Diary, he simply stood back and observed. By keeping him in education, this means his life so far has been pre-determined. Being an adult would kinda ruin that because he would have had to take some form of control over his own life via finding a job or whatever.

      Alternatively, maybe Deus Ex Machina just likes them young or something

      • Posted November 10, 2011 at 1:32 am | Permalink

        A college delinquent who is socially awkward, lives in the uni dorms because his parents live abroad – not too original, but I thought this theme would fit in better. Sorta like having the Guilty Crown protag here. Meh, not too much of a hinderance, thankfully.

        But on the flip side, I’m glad Yuno is also a middle schooler. Otherwise, we’d have ridiculously overblown boobs.

  12. izzu
    Posted November 11, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    You know what, Scamp? You should really make a post of your favourite anime OP / ED / INS (and not BGM). Don’t go and say “Oh look at me, pre­tend­ing I know any­thing about music~” =)

    I love Un-Go’s ED especially during the start of the song and the guitar part. The whole song is so catchy in my opinion. However I could not bring myself to like Persona 4′s OP no matter how many times I listen to it. But it’s not like I hate it. (the way I hated, and still very much couldn’t stand Chaos;Head’s ED. I know it was a long time ago but I can still remember the hatred and how nauseous I was…) How Guilty Crown’s OP being most people’s favourite is beyond me. I think the song is generic supercell but feels so over the place and they tried too hard to impress that it becomes memorable for the wrong reason.

    Oh, look at me, writing too much and pretending I know this much about music. All I know is that good music is indeed good to my ears, but it may not as good to yours. =)

  13. Ryu
    Posted November 18, 2011 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    The problem is that the rape story adds nothing to this 2-bit character arc and really seems like a poor excuse to shove in some bomb-ass tittays because apparently dignity is the last thing on the director’s mind when dealing with sexual abuse, so it looks like you got your wish for skeevy fanservice champ!

    Also lol@

    ” Par­ents bru­tally murdered in front of their eyes as a child? Meh, pretty reg­u­lar back­story. Get raped when you’re younger? Oh dear, touchy ter­rit­ory.’

    Yes these are precisely the same things! You sure showed those staunch anti-rapist nerds!

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